Ohio SHRM State CouncilAffiliate of The Society for Human Resource Management

Speaker Line Up

The 2023 Employment Law and Legislative Conference

Thursday, May 18, 2023 - IN PERSON

Renaissance • 50 North Third Street • Columbus, Ohio 43215 • 614-228-5050

Welcome and introduction / 8:00 am - 8:15 am

Tony Fiore

Director, Government Affairs, Ohio SHRM State Council

Tony Fiore, Director, Government Affairs for the Ohio SHRM State Council - Tony Fiore has been advising companies and associations of all sizes for nearly 20 years with thoughtful counsel on practical, political and legal considerations to tackle the issues clients encounter. Companies he serves range from small “mom-and-pop” shops to national trade associations and international corporations.  Fiore is a demonstrated advocate with exceptional knowledge of local, state and federal laws and of national and international legal and business regulations. In addition, Fiore is the treasurer for the firm’s Political Action Committee (PAC) and manages the firm’s 50-state lobbying compliance practice area.  He joined the firm in 2011.

Ohio Legislative Leader Update / 8:05 am - 9:05 am

Jason Stephens

Speaker of the House

 (R-Kitts Hill) 

State Representative Jason Stephens is serving his second full term in the Ohio House of Representatives after being appointed in the 133rd General Assembly. He serves the 93rd House District, which includes all of Gallia, Jackson and Lawrence Counties. In the 134th General Assembly, Stephens served on Finance, Insurance, and Public Utilities committees, as well as the Chairman of Energy & Natural Resources.  Stephens also has an extensive background in local government, He previously served as Lawrence County auditor from 2011-2019. Stephens was Lawrence County commissioner from 2001-2011 as well, being President from 2009-2010. Since 1996, Stephens has been a licensed insurance agent at Stephens & Son Insurance Agency, Inc. and, since 1999, is a co-owner of Stephens & Son Insurance of Chesapeake, Inc.  In 1993, Stephens graduated from Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics/Finance and Business Management.  He has been married to his wife Juli since 1994, and they live on a small farm in Getaway. He and his wife have three sons and are active members of the Rome Church of Christ in Proctorville.

Ohio Legislative Leader Update / 8:05 am - 9:05 am

Allison Russo 

House Minority Leader 

(D-Upper Arlington) 

House Minority Leader, Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) - Representative Allison Russo is currently serving her second term in Ohio General Assembly representing House District 24, which includes Upper Arlington, Hilliard, and portions of Columbus and southwestern Franklin County. She is currently the Ranking Member of the House Health Committee. Representative Russo also serves on the Finance Committee; Finance Subcommittee on Health and Human Services; State and Local Government Committee; Families, Aging and Human Services Committee; and the Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee. Representative Russo is the Co-Chair of the bipartisan Legislative Children’s Caucus and Policy Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus. She currently holds appointments on the Attorney General’s Elder Abuse Commission and the Ohio Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission.

Ohio Legislative Leader Update / 8:05 am - 9:05 am

Matt Huffman 

Senate President 


Senator Matt Huffman is currently serving his second term in the Ohio Senate, representing the 12th Senate district which includes all of Allen, Auglaize, Champaign, Mercer and Shelby counties, as well as portions of Darke and Logan counties. He was elected by his colleagues to serve as Senate President for the 134th General Assembly. In that role, Senator Huffman is responsible for leading the Chamber and setting the policy agenda. He previously served four terms in the Ohio House of Representatives, the last two in leadership positions, including being elected by his fellow legislators to serves as the second highest-ranking member, Speaker Pro Tempore. 

Born and raised in Lima, Ohio, Senator Huffman has practiced law for the past 30 years in his family’s private practice law firm in downtown Lima. He has been admitted to practice in all of the state and federal courts in Ohio and is an “AV” rated attorney by the Martindale-Hubbell rating service, the highest rating an attorney can receive. He has represented dozens of small businesses in West Central Ohio. 

Senator Huffman began his public service on Lima City Council in 1992, serving until 2006, including the final seven years as City Council President. In 2007, he began his service in the Ohio House of Representatives. During his time in the Ohio Legislature, Senator Huffman has championed bills to reform the medical delivery system, protect life at all stages and give parents control over their student’s education. He has always maintained a strong commitment to the preservation of gun rights. 

Senator Huffman has been a tireless advocate of removing unnecessary government regulations and fees and lowering taxes for all Ohioans; he defeated an income tax increase while on Lima City Council and supported the reduction of state income taxes on individuals and small business owners, and the elimination of the Ohio estate tax. While in the Ohio House, he was named a “Guardian of Small Business” and earned three “Watchdog of the Treasury” awards. 

Senator Huffman is deeply concerned about our nation’s debt and was a primary sponsor of resolutions in both the Ohio House and Senate to call for a convention of the states, as authorized by Article V of the U.S. Constitution, to propose a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. He believes the states must take back the power they have relinquished to the federal government in order for our nation’s debt crisis to be solved. 

Senator Huffman is the fifth of nine children born to Lawrence and Shirley Huffman. He graduated from Lima Central Catholic High School in 1978. He then went on to earn his degree in Government from the University of Notre Dame in 1982 and his law degree from the University of Cincinnati School of Law in 1985. Married for over 30 years, Senator Huffman and his wife Sheryl (nee Simoneau) have made their home in Lima, where they have raised four children: Clare, Matthew, Ellen and Sam. Their sixth grandchild was born in August 2022. In addition to being members of St. Charles Church, he and Sheryl belong to several community organizations including Heartbeat of Lima and the Knights of Columbus.

Ohio Legislative Leader Update / 8:05 am - 9:05 am

Nickie Antonio 

Senate Minority Leader 


State Senator Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) is honored to represent District 23 and serve as Minority Leader in the Ohio Senate. Antonio, who was first elected to the Senate in 2018 and again in 2022, previously spent eight years in the Ohio House of Representatives representing District 13. Antonio has previously worked as a Lakewood City Councilmember, Executive Director of an outpatient drug and alcohol treatment program for women, Adjunct Professor and a teacher for children with special needs. 

In addition to her role as Minority Leader, Antonio serves as Ranking Member on the Senate Health and Transportation Committees. She also sits on the Rules and Reference, Joint Legislative Ethics Committees and Legislative Service Commission and has experience on the Senate Finance; Ways and Means; and Workforce and Higher Education Committees. Additionally, she is a member of the Ohio House Democratic Women's Caucus, previously as chair, and is the State Director for the National Women Legislators’ Lobby. 

She has been a dedicated champion of workers’ rights, high-quality education, local governments, equal rights for women and the LGBTQ+ community, health care for all and fighting the opioid crisis. Antonio has received numerous awards for outstanding legislative leadership, including the Cleveland State University Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award from the Maxine Levin College of Urban Affairs and the 2019 ACAR J. Howard Battle Equal Opportunity in Housing Award from the Akron/Cleveland Association of Realtors. A full list of Senator Antonio’s awards can be found here

Antonio is recognized in the General Assembly as a leader who reaches across the aisle to get things done and an established expert in health policy. She championed Ohio’s historic adoption open records law and step therapy reform law, as well as passed legislation abolishing the shackling of pregnant inmates and requiring pharmacist education for dispensing life-saving naloxone. During her tenure, Antonio has introduced the Ohio Fairness Act in every General Assembly since 2011, which would provide civil rights protections for members of the LGBTQ+ community. She continues to work to end Ohio’s use of the death penalty, as well as on many other bills to improve the lives of all Ohioans.

Antonio has made a number of historic firsts in the Ohio General Assembly. In 2010, she became the first member of the LGBTQ+ community ever elected to the Ohio House of Representatives in the 208-year history of the Ohio General Assembly. She was also the first LGBTQ+ member to hold a leadership position when she was elected Minority Whip in the 131st General Assembly. In 2018, she became the first woman to hold the Senate District 23 seat and the first member of the LGBTQ+ community ever elected to the Ohio Senate. She continues historic firsts with her Senate leadership position of Minority Whip, followed by Assistant Minority Leader in 2021, and current position of Minority Leader. The first in her family to graduate from college, she holds both an M.P.A. and a B.S. Ed. from Cleveland State University. She was named a CSU Distinguished Alumni in 2013. She is also an alumnus of the Bohnett Fellow of the Kennedy School Harvard Leadership Program (2011).

SB1 and HB 12 - A 21st Century Education and Career Readiness System-Connecting Ohio’s Workforce to Employers / 9:05 am - 10:05 am

The Honorable Bill Reineke

Ohio Senate


Bill Reineke represents the 26th District in the Ohio Senate, which includes Union, Crawford, Marion, Morrow, Sandusky, Seneca, and Wyandot counties. He is currently serving his first term as State Senator. He is vice chair of the Transportation Committee and is a member of the Energy and Public Utilities, Workforce and Higher Education, and Small Business and Economic Opportunity committees. His foremost priority is workforce development and job creation, which he pursues as a member on the Governor’s Executive Workforce Board. 

Senator Reineke previously served three terms in the Ohio House of Representatives. He has worked closely with the Seneca County Chamber of Commerce, Tiffin Seneca Economic Partnership, Tiffin Tomorrow, and Tiffin Rotary Club as a business owner in Tiffin and now representing the district in Columbus. 

Senator Reineke attended Morehead State University. He is a business partner in Reineke Family Dealerships, a three-generation family business, that has grown to include 10 dealerships and over 400 full- and part-time employees. He is a 38-year resident of Tiffin and the proud father of two daughters.

SB1 and HB 12 - A 21st Century Education and Career Readiness System-Connecting Ohio’s Workforce to Employers / 9:05 am - 10:05 am

The Honorable David Dobos

Ohio House


State Representative Dave Dobos is currently serving his first term as State Representative for the 10th Ohio House District, which encompasses portions of the west, southwest, and south sides of Columbus, Grove City, Urbancrest, and most of Franklin Township. He intends to concentrate his legislative efforts on issues related to economic growth, workforce development, and quality K-12 education.   

A graduate of West High School, Dobos used his education and training to start a small business. His current company, among other services, provides SAT and ACT preparation for high students and has helped ready thousands of students for a bright future in Ohio and beyond.   

Rep. Dobos is very active in his community. He has held leadership roles in multiple organizations, including being elected twice to the Columbus City School Board, where he served as President. During his time there, he helped enact innovative policies and budgets that increased graduation rates by 12%, tripled the number of students enrolled in Advanced Placement (AP) classes, increased test scores, ended forced busing with student school assignments based on access and choice, and eliminated many central office administrators.   

In addition, Dobos attended MIT, where he served as class president and was a student athlete. He received the Karl Taylor Compton Prize for his outstanding contributions to the MIT Community. He has also served on the Board of Directors for the MIT Alumni Association.

SB1 and HB 12 - A 21st Century Education and Career Readiness System-Connecting Ohio’s Workforce to Employers / 9:05 am - 10:05 am

Rick Carfagna, moderator

SVP of Government Affairs, Ohio Chamber of Commerce

Rick Carfagna serves as Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.  In this position, he is responsible for leading the Chamber’s legislative team and overseeing the Chamber’s public policy agenda.   

Carfagna formerly served three terms in the Ohio House of Representatives, representing the eastern half of Delaware County and all of Knox County.  His tenure included a role in House leadership as Assistant Majority Floor Leader, where he helped develop and implement the majority caucus’ policy agenda.  He also spent time as Chair of the House Finance Subcommittee on Higher Education and as Vice-Chair of the House Public Utilities Committee.  As State Representative, he was the architect of Ohio’s $270 million Residential Broadband Expansion Program to bring high speed internet infrastructure to unserved households throughout the state.  He also had measures enacted that combat human trafficking, stabilize mental health emergencies, provide customer protections to parents of children in daycare, and provide greater access to, and emphasis on, computer science offerings in K-12 education.

As former Chair of the Ohio Retirement Study Council, Carfagna provided legislative oversight over the state’s five public retirement systems and their approximately $218 billion in combined assets.  Carfagna also chaired the Midwestern Higher Education Compact, a consortium of 12 member states that strengthens postsecondary education through cost-savings initiatives and policy solutions.   

A native of the Columbus area, Carfagna earned his B.A. in Political Science from John Carroll University.  Following graduation, he was accepted into the Ohio Legislative Service Commission’s Fellowship Program and later served as a legislative aide in the Ohio House of Representatives.  From 2002 until 2017, Carfagna worked as Government Relations Manager for Time Warner Cable, where he oversaw legislative and regulatory issues at the local, state, and federal levels.   

Prior to serving in the Ohio House, Carfagna was elected to the Genoa Township Board of Trustees in 2009 and re-elected in 2013.  He was appointed by his peers to serve as Board Chair in 2011, 2014, and 2016.   

Rick Carfagna and his wife, Jill, reside in Genoa Township and are the proud parents of a daughter, Isabella.

Protecting Ohio Employers and Workers with Legislative Oversight of Future UI Benefits  /  10:10 am - 11:10 am

Matt Damschroder 

Director, ODJFS

Matt Damschroder was appointed interim director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) by Gov. Mike DeWine in March 2021 and was named permanent director in July 2021. 

No stranger to the important work at ODJFS, Matt and his wife have been foster parents and have two adopted children. It has been a life-changing and life-affirming endeavor for all of them, and he wholeheartedly encourages everyone to be a champion for children and their future. 

Previously Matt served as director of the Ohio Department of Administrative Services since 2019. 

Before joining DAS, Matt served as State Elections Director in the office of then-Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted from 2011 to 2014, then as the Assistant Secretary of State and Chief of Staff. 

A native of Columbus, Matt holds an M.A. in Public Policy and Management from the John Glenn College of Public Affairs and a B.S. in Business Administration from the Max M. Fisher College of Business, both at The Ohio State University.

Protecting Ohio Employers and Workers with Legislative Oversight of Future UI Benefits  /  10:10 am - 11:10 am

Tim Schaffer

State Senator 

A lifelong resident of Central and Southeast Ohio, Senator Tim Schaffer is currently serving in his third term in the Ohio Senate serving the 20th district which encompasses Fairfield and Licking counties, as well as portions of Perry County.  Senator Schaffer was first elected to the Ohio House in 2000.  After serving three terms he was elected to the Ohio Senate in the 31st district.  He returned to the House in 2015. 

Senator Schaffer has worked tirelessly at the Statehouse to fight government corruption, reduce taxes and protect children & families from predators. 

Additionally, Senator Schaffer has worked on numerous economic development projects in his districts, leading to the retention and creation of hundreds of jobs. 

 A veteran legislator, Senator Schaffer is serving as Chairman of the Senate's standing committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources as well as a member of the standing committees on Government Oversight & Reform, Insurance, and Transportation. While in the Ohio House he chaired Ways & Means and previously he has chaired the Public Utilities Committee, Commerce & Labor Committee, and he was Ohio’s first legislative chairman of the Homeland Security, Engineering & Architecture Committee after the terrorist attacks on America in 2001. He has also served as chair of ODNR’s Mine & Reclamation Commission. 

In these positions Senator Schaffer has played key roles in reducing taxes, providing more resources to Ohio businesses to create jobs, protecting Ohio's air and water quality along with our abundant natural resources, keeping energy prices in-check, maintaining a strong infrastructure and ensuring state labor policies promote, not hinder, job creation.

Controlling the Cost of Healthcare in Ohio – What Employers, HR Professionals and Lawmakers Can Do Help / 11:10 am - 12:10 pm

Chris Ferruso

State Director, National Federation of Independent Business/Ohio (moderator)

Chris Ferruso is the State Director for NFIB in Ohio overseeing public policy advocacy, government affairs, and operations for the organization’s 21,000 members statewide. He previously served as both Legislative Director and Ohio Member Benefits Manager since joining NFIB in April of 2007. In these positions, he managed public policy efforts as well as the administration and marketing of the NFIB member benefits program in Ohio. Mr. Ferruso serves on the Ohio Industrial Commission Nominating Council and the Public Benefits Advisory Council. He also serves as the chair of the Ohio Alliance for Civil Justice, a coalition dedicated to improving and preserving a fair and balanced civil justice climate. 

He came to NFIB after four years in the office of then-Ohio State Senator Steve Stivers. Mr. Ferruso first served as the administrative assistant to the senator before being promoted to the position of legislative assistant. 

Mr. Ferruso holds a degree in political science from The Ohio State University. He resides in Westerville with his wife Melissa and two sons Nicholas and Jack.

Controlling the Cost of Healthcare in Ohio – What Employers, HR Professionals and Lawmakers Can Do Help / 11:10 am - 12:10 pm

The Honorable Stephen A. Huffman

Chairman, Senate Health Committee 

Senate District 5

Senator Huffman is serving his second term in the Ohio Senate, representing the people of the 5th Senate District, which includes all of Miami and Preble counties in addition to portions of Butler, Darke and Montgomery counties. He joins the Senate after two terms in the Ohio House from 2015-2018. He also was elected and served as Miami County Coroner from 2012-2015. 

After graduating from Milton-Union High School, Senator Huffman attended the University of Toledo, where he earned a medical degree from the Medical College of Ohio (now the University of Toledo School of Medicine). Senator Huffman has been a practicing physician for 32 years and he is currently employed by multiple emergency rooms throughout Western Ohio. He also served overseas in underserved regions for 18 months. 

 A lifelong resident of Miami County, Senator Huffman resides in Tipp City with his wife, Kathryn, and their five children.

Controlling the Cost of Healthcare in Ohio – What Employers, HR Professionals and Lawmakers Can Do Help / 11:10 am - 12:10 pm

The Honorable Brian E. Lampton

Chairman, House Insurance Committee 

House District 70

State Representative Brian Lampton is currently serving his second term as State Representative for the 70th Ohio house district, which includes the western portion of Greene County.   

Representative Lampton has been the owner and operator of Lampton/Engle & Associates Insurance for over 30 years.   

Representative Lampton has been an active community member for several years. He has previously served as the Vice President of the Beavercreek 9/11 Memorial Committee, President of both the Beavercreek and Fairborn Chambers of Commerce, President of the Beavercreek Rotary Club, Board member of the County Board of Elections, member of the Charter Review Committee and Vice Chair of the Greene County Republican Party.    

In his free time, Representative Lampton enjoys announcing Beavercreek High School football and basketball games. He lives in Beavercreek with his fiancé Karen and their two German Shepherds.

Lunch Break - 12:10 pm - 12:30 pm

The Tangled Web We Weave- Navigating the Various Leaves of Absence Employees Take / 12:30 pm - 1:25 pm

Brendan Feheley

Director + Chair, Labor + Employment Practice Kegler Brown Hill + Ritter

Brendan is the chair of the firm’s Labor + Employment practice and has more than a decade of experience representing management in all aspects of employee relations law. He advises clients regarding personnel issues, including hiring and firing lawfully, FMLA compliance, drug and alcohol testing, Fair Labor Standards Act compliance, and government contracting. He also has experience in the development and preparation of employment agreements, employee handbooks, confidentiality and non-compete agreements, affirmative action plans, separation agreements and releases, and independent contractor agreements. Additionally, Brendan represents clients in initiating non-compete and trade secret litigation and in responding to EEOC, OCRC and state agency discrimination charges. He has given presentations on numerous employment-related topics, including sexual harassment, protecting intellectual property and confidential information, overtime rules, and the FMLA. From employment structuring to regulatory compliance, Brendan is known to be “‘accessible, available, and able to talk through employment law scenarios in a way that matches a firm’s culture and personality.

Common Wage and Hour Violations and How to Fix Them / 2:10 pm - 3:00 pm

Sarah E. Pawlicki

Attorney, Eastman & Smith Ltd

Sarah E. Pawlicki is an attorney with Eastman & Smith Ltd.  She has a broad range of employment experience, partnering with human resource professionals to make workplaces better (and legally compliant).  Her experience includes collective bargaining and grievance issues, employment law compliance and workers' compensation law.  Additionally she is a Society for Human Resource Management Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP).  Ms. Pawlicki is a member of Eastman & Smith and chairs the Firm's women's initiative, The Women of Eastman & Smith Ltd. (WES). Ms. Pawlicki is a member of the Toledo Bar Association, where she sits on the Labor & Employment and Bar Admissions committees. Additionally Ms. Pawlicki is on the Northwest Ohio Human Resource Association Board and was its president in 2016.  Ms. Pawlicki is also a member of the board of directors for Directions Credit Union. Directions Credit Union is an Ohio state-chartered credit union with over $800,000,000 in assets.  

Employee Privacy - What HR should and shouldn’t know      / 3:05 pm - 4:05 pm

Anne E. Duprey

Member, Frost Brown Todd

Annee has represented a wide variety of small, mid-size, and large employers, including those in the manufacturing, logistics, technology, food service, construction, retail, health care, and customer service industries, as well as, several Ohio municipalities.  

Annee is a regular speaker on labor and employment trends, discrimination and harassment issues, and best employment practices. She also provides ongoing education and training to many clients, which allows employers and their staff to identify and address human resources concerns with confidence.  

Employment Law Uniformity Act (ELUA):  Impact on the OCRC Intake & Investigative Process    / 4:05 pm - 5:05 pm

Denise M. Johnosn

Administrative Law Judge, Ohio Civil Rights Commission

Denise M. Johnson has held the position of Chief Administrative Law Judge for the Ohio Civil Rights Commission since May of 2005.  The Ohio Civil Rights Commission enforces Ohio’s anti-discrimination laws, charged with the responsibility of eliminating discrimination in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, credit, and discrimination against the disabled by an educational institution.  

Ms. Johnson received her law degree from Capital University Law School.   She is a member of the Ohio bar and has been licensed to practice in federal court.       

The positions that she has held during her legal career include the following: In-house Counsel for Huntington National Bank, Chief of the Civil Rights Section of the Attorney General’s Office, Staff Attorney for the Attorney General’s Office in both the Civil Rights and the Charitable Foundations Sections.

Ms. Johnson has conducted numerous trainings for private and public sector employers on employment discrimination law.   She is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association